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‘Alcohol-free zone’ signs and no super-strength beer policy challenges street drinking in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 May 2012 | UPDATED: 09:18 03 May 2012

Wilson Chowdhry with Pc Janek Stabrawa

Wilson Chowdhry with Pc Janek Stabrawa

Archant

A series of measures, including new “alcohol free zone” signs and encouraging shops not to sell super-strength beer, are being employed to tackle street drinking in Redbridge.

A community group, safer neighbourhood police officers and Redbridge Council hope that new signs in Ilford will send out a clear message that street drinking will not be tolerated.

After the council agreed to extend an alcohol exclusion zone, which means police can challenge persistent street drinkers, signs have now been placed off Green Lane to highlight the issue.

It is hoped the signs, funded by the council, in Connaught Road, Melford Road and Stanley Road will prevent repeats of incidents such as the one which led to David Christof, landlord of the nearby Prince of Wales pub, being arrested.

As reported in the Recorder last month, Mr Christof was held at Ilford police station after challenging street drinkers outside his Green Lane pub.

Pc Janek Stabrawa, of Clementswood Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “He’s had ongoing issues.

“I contacted the council and they were happy to give me whatever I needed in terms of signage.

“We’re already doing more patrols around here for the pub’s benefit.”

The signs went up last week, paid for out of a £5,005 fund pledged by the council’s area committees, and 67 have gone up in total.

The signs in Connaught Road and Stanley Road were requested by Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the East Ilford Betterment Partnership.

He said problems in the area include street drinkers urinating on walls, leaving broken cans and bottles and fighting amongst themselves.

He said: “It makes the whole area seem more dangerous. And people are quite frightened around here.”

The existing zone included Ilford Lane; High Road, Ilford (up to The Cauliflower pub) and Cranbrook Road (up to the Gants Hill roundabout).

Fine

It has now been extended to include Clementswood, Loxford and Mayfield wards and Goodmayes Park.

It means the police can take opened cans or bottles from people drinking in the street and unopened cans or bottles if they believe they will be drunk there.

There is a maximum fine of £500.

A council spokesman said: “The antisocial behaviour team have worked closely with the police SNTs and the feedback they are getting is that they are very useful.”

Shopkeepers in Ilford will also be asked not to sell strong alcohol after a trial reduced the number of street drinkers, according to Redbridge Council.

Four stores in Green Lane – Trade Beers, Shan Store, Cost Effective and General Store – and two in High Road, Ilford – Azad Food Centre and Best Express – have not been selling alcohol above six per cent since April 4.

Any cans of beer or cider below six per cent were also sold only in four-packs during the four-week trial.

A council spokesman said: “On the basis that the trial has had an impact to reduce the street drinking problem, shopkeepers will be asked to extend the voluntary agreement.

“Due to an emerging street drinking problem in the area, we wrote to the off-licences to ask them if they would sign up not to sell super strength beers or ciders.”

The initiative is being supported by Redbridge police.


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